The Doobie Brothers
The Warner Bros. Years 1971–1983 (Warner Bros.)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Dec. 18, 2015
Neither could the preposterously-named Doobie Brothers headline ACL Fest nor fill the Frank Erwin Center like peer hitmakers the Eagles (1971-1980, initially), but the car-wreck riff of "Life in the Fast Lane" from the latter's 1976 smash Hotel California apparently began its mangle five years earlier on debut LP The Doobie Brothers. Legend paints Moby Grape savant Skip Spence hooking up the fellow Bay Areans' early core, and indeed the original quartet's eponymous introduction pulls deeply from the former act's Pacific Coast roots. The hillbilly down-strum to opener "Nobody" presages Top 40 christening "Listen to the Music" on the succeeding Toulouse Street, while "Beehive State" plays Name That Joe Walsh Riff as already noted. At 10 CDs in replica mini sleeves and a tidy box of no extras and tiny print, The Warner Bros. Years 1971–1983 divides evenly between the David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar years, here meaning honorary Texan Tom Johnston ("China Grove") and blue-eyed beard Michael McDonald ("Takin' It to the Streets"). Warner Bros. staff producer Ted Templeman cut all six classic Van Halen LPs and all the titles here – tight, hit swollen. Johnston: Harley rocker of The Captain & Me ("Long Train Runnin'") and ZZ Top-inflected Stampede ("Texas Lullabye"). McDonald: a pair of Grammys for co-writing No. 1 ubiquity "What a Fool Believes" with Kenny Loggins.